What are some of the health benefits of dancing?
When I decided to write this blog it was only going to be about the benefits of dancing. My goal was to only provide you with just a few general tips and some resources. Suddenly all of these feeling started to rise inside of me. It was a warm happy feeling flooding me with thought of my childhood to adulthood surrounding dance. My fondest memory of dance is with my mother on Saturday mornings. She would be singing, cooking, cleaning and listening to music. The radio will play the latest hits of that era and pass favorites. She loved R&B but all music was welcomed. My mother would say “dance for me ma!” I remember moving my body to the beat, my arms, legs and hips doing their own thing. She will say ‘Go Ma!” with a huge smile and bright eyes! A wave of tingling sensations will come over me and I will dance my heart away, eyes closed, feeling the rhythm and enjoying life. The look of sheer happiness and joy on her face I will never forget. My memory serves me will because baby brother had just arrived a few months earlier and I was the happiness 12 yr old in the world!
Growing up in the Bronx, there were not many outlets for children to encourage dance. I really cannot remember any community centers existing for us only after school programs. The after-school programs were to ensure homework completion and play time with your friend until your parents came to pick you up. Those community centers and other programs were only available if your parents were able to afford it. My after-school program was Concourse Day Care Center and they believed in education, dance, art, music, and putting on performances for our parents. I really enjoyed my time there. I will dance and sing in my group and was far from being shy. My memory can go far back as daycare when we had dance performances I was so happy and in love with music and motion of my body!
Another sweet memory I have with dancing were my family gatherings. My cousins and I use to dance in the middle of the living room floor for everyone to see. Grandmas, aunties, uncles and older cousins would clap, smile and watch us do the latest dances or our own thing. In my teenage years I remember going out with friends and dancing the night away at house parties. During my high school years I signed up for jazz dance classes during my junior year and my sophomore and senior year I attended modern dance. As an adult I dance with my mom and her friends at her favorite nightclub called the Boston Road Ball Room in the Bronx. We danced all night long and went to the “after hour spot” and danced some more! Those were the good old days! House parties were one of my favorite times to dance as a young adult. The energy in the house was amazing! Dancing until you sweat, everyone is on beat and singing loudly. I felt like the energizer bunny and I kept going and going and going! As an adult my girlfriends and I will have a “girl’s night out” where we laughed and danced until our feet hurt! I would dance alone, not needing a partner, letting the music take control and move me. This is when I felt most free, I was happy and my worries were nonexistent for that current moment.
Now that I am almost fifty nearly a half of a century I find myself dancing less at night clubs and more at home. I feel just as good on the inside as I did when I was younger. Instead of going to the nightclubs I simply pop my ear buds in and let the music and my body mesh together like a beautiful symphony. As you can tell I’ve been dancing all my life and enjoy it greatly. There are so many benefits from dancing! Some of the benefits you may be aware of and some you may not. Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Dancing does not discriminate!
v Dancing may improve the condition of your heart and lungs and increase your muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness.
v You can build stronger bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis while improving muscle tone and strength.
v Another benefit of dancing is you will notice better coordination, agility and flexibility in your body.
v Want to manage your weight? Dancing is the key. Move those hips, sway your arms, sweat and get your heart rate pumping! You don’t have to join a gym and pay that horrible membership fee. Dance in your home, in the park, in your backyard just dance! There are few mental benefits of dancing as well.
v Dancing will improve your mental functioning and psychological well being.
v Lastly it will give you a greater sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and better social skills.
There are many styles of dance to choose from and each with its own unique attraction. What type of dance do you like?
- Ballet this dance style focuses on strength, technique and flexibility.
- Belly dancing originating in the Middle East, this dance style is a fun way to exercise.
- Hip-hop dancing that is performed mostly with high energy moves.
- Jazz another high-energy dance style involving kicks leaps and turns to the beat of the music most people choose this option.
- Pole dancing was thought of as taboo, however it has become increasingly popular as a form of exercise. Sensual dancing with a vertical pole that requires muscle endurance, coordination, and upper- and lower-body strength.
- Salsa I think is a fiery dance involving a mixture of Caribbean, Latin American and African influences this dance and emphasizes rhythms and sensuality.
- Tap dancing is sure to get that heart rate pumping because it focuses on timing and beats.
How to choose a dance style?
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Do I want to dance to improve my fitness?
- Am I trying to improve my flexibility and coordination?
- Do I prefer fast dancing or slow dancing?
- Do I want to dance with a partner, or on my own?
- Should I join a group or take private lessons?